Significant economic advantage can be gained by the illegal adulteration of fruit juices by deliberate dilution or extension of the product with cheaper alternative juices. A method to detect fruit juice adulteration is required to establish where fraudulent substitution has occurred and protect the consumer from these practices.<P>
Two projects have been commissioned to carry out this work. The first aims to evaluate the feasibility of using a DNA based technique and capillary electrophoresis “lab on a chip” detection method to identify six fruit species: Apple, Blueberry, Elderberry, Grape, Pear and Pomegranate used in either fruit juice production or as potential adulterants. A separate project aims to detect adulteration of citrus fruit juices by transferring an existing DNA method to the capillary electrophoresis chip (see project Q01114).
Background:<BR> The Agency has funded a number of recent projects focusing on transfer of DNA methods to a capillary electrophoresis “lab on a chip” platform. This is a simple, robust format for accurate sizing and quantification of DNA fragments and thus is suited for routine use by Public Analyst laboratories.
Research Approach:<BR> A Polymerase Chain Reaction-Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) approach will be used to develop a database of DNA profiles that can distinguish the fruit species commonly used in fruit juice production and also potential adulterant fruit species. This method involves PCR amplification of a specific segment of DNA from each fruit species, followed by digestion of the DNA with restriction enzymes which cut the DNA to produce smaller fragments. A profile of restriction fragments, specific to each fruit species is produced and this can be used to identify whether that fruit is present in a fruit juice.
<p>Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the <a href="http://www.food.gov.uk/science/research/" target="_blank">Food Standards Agency Research webpage</a>.